As Covid-19 measures are being ease once again it is something worth celebrating because mask wearing is no longer mandatory in Singapore and we are moving towards the endemic phase!
However, some people will still continue to wear a mask due to certain reasons. Some would want to continue to avoid the virus and stay safe or prevent the older ones from getting the virus. While some might feel less confidence to reveal their face and continue wearing masks due to the existing acne or acne scars or acne marks caused by frequent mask wearing during the pandemic period.
What is Acne?
Acne is a skin condition that happens commonly when the hair follicles underneath the skin are clogged which results in pimples from growing.
So you must be wondering what causes acne to form right?
Our body contains oil also known as composed fats, called sebum. Sebum is an oily and sticky substance that is made up of a few different kinds of fat molecules, waxes and squalene. Squalene is distributed widely as a major component of sebum or human tissues on the skin with the greatest concentrations that protects the skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
How Does Sebum Benefit The Skin?
Sebum can benefit our skin in certain ways. Including:
- Antioxidants: It helps in fighting off free radicals that cause damage effects. This helps the skin to heal and repair by itself to whisk away visible damage
- Hydrate: Sebum allows the skin to maintain and lock its moisture to keep the skin hydrated, preventing the skin from drying out and forming of any bacterias or serving as a protection from infection.
- Protection: Sebum serves as a protection towards any potential pathogens to allow it to continue penetrating into the skin.
What Are The Types Of Acne?
Acne is divided into two sub-categories which are non-inflammatory acne and inflammatory acne.
Non-inflammatory acne is usually not severe and does not cause any swelling or redness. This includes:
- Blackheads: An open comedone when the sebum and dead skin cells merge and clog up the pores. However while the rest of the pores are clogged, the surface of the pores stays unclogged which is why it appears as black colour, not because it is dirty but because the air discolours the sebum..
- Whiteheads: A closed comedone where the pores are clogged by the combination of sebum and dead skin cells. However, the surface of the pores are clogged and produce a white bump.
Inflammatory acne is pimples that are red and swollen when a painful acne can develop and becomes hard to get rid of once bacteria starts infecting. These types of acne are usually more severe than non-inflammatory acne. This includes:
- Papules: Appear as a small pimple with a bump out of the skin surface that is red or swollen and caused by the form of a rash, and the texture feels tender and hard when touched. Papules happen when the pores on the walls surrounding break down from certain inflammation.
- Pustules: An inflamed pimple with a blister-like that is filled with pus and redness on the base area, and often includes yellow or whiteheads that appear on top of the skin.
- Nodules: Painful lumps and red bumps that appear on the skin surface. However when nodules are clogged, it grows larger when the swollen pores get more irritated.
- Cysts: When there is a combination of dead skin cells, bacteria and sebum, pores become clogged and form cysts. Cysts appear in red or white bumps that are usually deep, painful and pus-filled lesions when touched.
What Causes Acne?
If there is a higher amount of oil produced than usual by the body or an increase in dead skin cells and growth of bacterias in the pores, it leads to acne breakouts. However, these are not the only factors that cause acne breakouts. Factors that cause acne breakouts includes:
- Hormone Changes cause acne breakouts when the amount of oil that our skin produces is higher than usual where the bacterial growth interacts with the oil produced on the pores and causes acne.
- Genetics actually plays a big role in acne breakout. Genes are one of the factors that cause acne breakouts and people with family history regarding acne breakouts are more prone to experience it.
- Medications that contain hormones, corticosteroids, and lithium are usually culprits to acne breakouts
- High Humidity does lead to acne breakout. Environment that is humid causes congestion and clogged pores because bacteria grow and build up when there is heat and moisture, forcing the pores to enlarge and the amount of sebum production increases, leading to acne and blackhead or whitehead forming.
What Can Worsen Acne?
There are a few factors which can worsen acne but do not cause acne to form. This includes:
- Stress can worsen or trigger acne. When stress releases hormones like cortisol and androgens, it leads to an increase in the skin oil production, also known as sebum.
- Diet can affect hormones. Food that contains a high content of sugar can worsen acne because it raises the insulin level and other hormone levels. Milk can also lead to worsening of acne as some milk might contain hormones that cause inflammation in the body that can lead to the pores clogging and leading to acne.
- Picking of Existing Acne causes inflammation and worsen the acne when contents of the acne are pushed further and deeper into the skin. This can also lead to a more noticeable acne.
Who Are More Prone To Acne Breakouts?
Acne breakouts can happen to anyone regardless of age but teenagers are usually more prone to experience it. This is because oil glands get stimulated and become more active during puberty.
Does Mask Leads To Acne Breakouts?
The answer is YES! Mask does lead to acne breakouts. Mask traps heat inside, causing friction and occlusion to the skin. With breathing, talking and sweating combined together, it creates a moist environment, pores then get clogged and result in acne breakouts.
Maskne: What Is It?
Maskne is the combination of the words – “mask” and “acne”. Maskne refers to acne breakouts around the jawline, mouth or chin area caused by wearing a mask and in any case, it might worsen the existing acne.
How To Prevent Acne Or Maskne?
Whether you are going to continue wearing a mask or not, it is always good to know how to prevent acne breakouts.
- Cleansing your Face daily can help in preventing acne breakouts. A gentle skin care that is fragrance and oil free is good to prevent acne because usually skin care with fragrance tends to show sensitising reactions on the skin. With daily care and cleansing to the face, it helps to remove dirt and oil that might be trapped on the skin if no frequent cleansing is done.
- Wash your Mask after each use if you are using a reusable or cotton mask to prevent bacterial growth.
- Applying Moisturiser can prevent acne breakouts. Dry skin is often caused by frequent mask wearing and can act as a protective barrier in between the mask.
- Ditching Make-up if you will continue wearing a mask because it will clog up the pores and cause breakouts. Additionally, the mask will also become soil due to the makeup residue.
- Choose the Right Skin Care that says “alchohol-free”. This prevents irritation to the skin and prevents drying up the skin which can lead to acne breakouts.
There are also treatments available at V Medical Aesthetic Clinic that treat acne and acne marks or scars concerns:
Pico Laser is a laser treatment that benefits the skin complexion. It removes unwanted and stubborn pigmentations like acne marks, reduces pimples and the size of pores by minimising the sebum production on the skin. It also benefits the skin from looking glowy as it provides brightening and improves both skin texture and skin tone.
PICO Laser fires ultra short pulses of laser energy, also known as picoseconds to the targeted areas, This laser is commonly used to remove pigmentations like melasma, sun spots, age spots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentations.
PICO Laser suits best for candidates with:
- Dark spots
- Damaged from the sun
- Acne scars
- Stretch marks
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Pigmented scars or lesions
Hollywood Carbon Laser Peel
Hollywood Carbon Laser Peel is a laser treatment that stimulates collagen production. It uses a layer of carbon as a photo-enhancer to cleanse and unclog the pores, as well as to control the sebaceous glands and oily skin, providing a glowy look and radiance to the skin complexion.
Hollywood Carbon Laser Peel works by removing dirt on the face by creating an implosion of carbon particles.
Hollywood Carbon Laser Peel suits best for candidates with:
- Dull looking skin
- Enlarged pores
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Uneven skin textures
- Uneven skin tone
Rejuran Healer is an anti-ageing injectable treatment that has skin rejuvenation benefits. This injection treatment contains salmon DNA to kickstart skin healing process on a cellular level. It also helps to stimulate collagen production to improve your overall skin complexion, giving you a younger and stronger skin.
Rejuran Healer suits best for candidates with:
- Weak skin barrier
- Sun damage
- Dull looking skin
- Acne scars
- Enlarged pores
- Redness or sensitive skin
What Kind Of Food Can Prevent Acne Breakout?
The food consumed does affect the diet. Certain foods like pasta, white rice, white bread can trigger and raise the blood sugar faster than usual, leading to a release of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) which is known as a hormone that is in charge of the effects of growth.
Foods made of complex carbohydrates and are low in glycemic such as whole grains, legumes and fruits & vegetables that are unprocessed can reduce the chances of developing acne. Food that contains mineral zinc, vitamins A & E or antioxidants can also reduce the risk of acne breakouts.
Other types of foods that prevents acne:
- Whole-wheat bread
- Sweet potatoes
- Fatty fishes (salmon, mackerel etc.)
Skin Cares That Keeps Acne Away
Effectively whisk away daily impurities without destroying essential moisture and act as a protection to the skin against free radicals, slowing down the process of premature ageing and replenishing moisture balance.
Dedicated to moisturise the skin and help to recover comfort and equilibrium. It also helps the skin to restore balance and boost protection for the skin.
Act as a protection barrier that provides moisture to the skin, preventing dry skin, redness, and irritation. It helps to relieve sensitive and irritated skin, and protect against oxidative stress.
In conclusion, it is always important to cleanse your face at least twice a day and keep your face clean to minimise or reduce any acne breakouts.
If you are going to continue wearing a mask, remember to change or wash your mask daily to prevent any bacteria from forming and lead to breakouts.